Hi Everyone.

When I first read Peter Collingwood's "The Techniques of Tug Weaving" I made samplers from several sections, including the one on "Colour and Weave Effects with Weft-Faced 2/2 Twill".  Here is that sampler:


Having just bought a bunch of Pendleton worms and selvedges, as well as a bunch of berber, I thought I'd re-visit these color-and-weave sequences -- making some rugs and doing full-size samples at the same time.

After just skimming the suftace of all the possibilities I had about 50 unique sequences to try, in addition to the 33 that are in this sampler!  So I turned to my computer and developed a neat way to try out different sequences, on many different threadings.

Below are four different threading/treadling/colour combinations that show the output from my Excel/CorelDraw application.


It is so much easier to see how the textile will actually look when the warp is eliminated and the floats are given the "S" and "Z" deflections that unify the designs.

Here is a comparison of a weft-faced representation to a balanced weave representation.


Without my utility I'd be doing manual trial-and-error and it would take a long time.  So I'm wondering why this feature isn't offered with the weaving design programs we all buy and use??  Or is there one I don't know about?



Su Butler

HI Bonnie.....lovely designs.......

You asked about using a comparison of weft faced representation to balanced weave representation.  I can do this in Fiberworks PCW......in the CLOTH menu one can choose regular interlacement, weft faced, warp faced and double weave to name a few.  I often use the weft-faced weave view when designing rugs.  However, the comparison is not a side by side features, as illustrated in your graphics.  But it can be made so with some quick cut and paste into a new window.....that said, how did you use your Excel/Corel Draw programs to procude these graphics?? 

Bonnie Datta (not verified)

Hi Sue.

I tried PCW Silver and here is a comparison of the shaped float weft-face view (top) with the view I got there (bottom).

Not as bad as some I've seen but it still doesn't show the deflections which I think are key to being able to visualize the final look of the textile.

How do I do it?  Not very simple.  In Excel I create a table of numbers based on the threading and treadling and colour sequence, then in CorelDraw I create pixels that have the shapes and colours required.  I import these pixels into Excel and then I run a subroutine that places the pixels according to the numbers in the spreadsheet.  It sounds complicated and it is, but I've been working on it (on and off) since 1996.  I originally used it for tablet weaving, but this weft-faced loom application is very similar.  Because both Excel and CorelDraw are pretty hard programs to get really fluent in, I have never found a way to share what I've done.  Another problem is the human interface in the process, which is clumsy to say the least.

But when I see the power of all the weaving programs I wonder why no-one has added this capability -- it's not *that* hard.  No demand. I guess. I have talked to / emailed several of the weaving program developers over the years and tried to emphasize how useful this capability would be.  No-one got enthused.



Little Meadows (not verified)

Thank you very much for posting this, I thought it was just me and inexperience with weaving design programs.  Last week I spent several hours on the 'puter trying to determine how to get a proper view of weft faced in the Pixieloom demo version.  Let's just say this struggle and time spent for nought did not sell me on their program.  What you have done is just what I was looking for.  It's early and I'm only on my second cuppa but perhaps doing a CD of samplers would be economically viable for you?   Liese

Su Butler

HI Bonnie.....your colored depictions are really nice and I agree that it is useful they show deflections.   But the weft faced view that some programs offer is usually adequate for purposes of designing where pattern will appear in a weft faced weave.  You mentioned it was difficult to program in the tools you were using, and perhaps, given the tools the weaving software writers use, it is more effort than is reasonable for a business venture?   I guess my question is simply, how "realisitc" must the preview look to be of use to the weaver?   Isn't the point of drafting to show loom set up to place pattern in a specific way?  The pattern will still look different when woven than when drawn out.  For example, the black outline on each thread will not show in a woven item and as beautiful as the colored shadings are in the depiction from your program, they will not be the same in a woven item either.  I am not in any way discounting your work and the benefits it offers you, only commenting that possibly this level of execution of graphics is not included because it is not entirely necessary to designing a piece.  It is my feeling that a weaver has knowledge of way the threads behave and a draft is simply there to make sure a record is available and would allow someone else to duplicate a weave........

There is a lace weaving prgram floating about on the net that does indeed show deflections, something critical in designing lace, imho.  My own feeling is that for rug weaving the deflections are not critical in the draft and the weaver can still have an idea of what the finished product will be.

When  you do manage to convice the weaving software people to include your features, I will happily use them. 

Sara von Tresckow

 There IS software that will do realistic simulation - to the point of allowing you to scan in your yarn, render it in a shadowed grey version and paint over it with Pantone colors. The fabric then shows in a lifelike manner, scaled accurately enough to place this design on a premeasured object (warps/picks per inch or cm are known) and see if the pattern works too fussy, just right or too large.

This product is Pointcarre - www.pointcarre.com

It does many other things - since purchasing in April, I have begun to use it as my primary weaving design program - you need a two or more day training session in the NY office and a sizable investment - but it would produce your results and then some as it renders these shadings and contours in colors that look like yarn.l


Bonnie Datta (not verified)

Hi Sara.  Thanks for writing.  I always look for your postings -- I agree with JA that you know your stuff!

The words I liked best were"sizable investment" -- because that might motivate the software developers out there to consider an add-on to their existing software to handle this.  They already have an installed base to pitch it to.

Ideally, every fabric (balanced / warp-faced / weft-faced) could be depicted more realistically.  The effect of wet-finishing, I think, would be asking too much lol.

Bonnie Datta (not verified)

Yikes, I just noticed the typo --  that should be "The Techniques of Rug Weaving"

Sara von Tresckow

 These features(weft faced with proper thread shading and distortions) are not directly related to the graphed image shown by most weaving software.

To get the full effect of simulation in Pointcarre, I must call up several choice windows and set quite a few parameters regarding thread size, density, color, etc. It is definitely  not a single button option.

"Established base" yes, but I'd be curious how large it really is - compared, say, to a PDF generating program, virus checker, etc. Considering the number of handweavers out there and the choice in software, no one company has a large enough market share to include expensive add on.

Weavepoint does come close in some respects with its Fabric - Thread View display option - it uses some shading and has a compress feature to show supplementary weft patterns rather realistically. Making the warp disappear with the proper distortions is not among its features.

I work with a fan reed now. There is really NO software that can deal with the curving distortions in the warp by moving the reed up or down slightly and making x number of picks. The closest I can come is to make representations of the sections compressed, balanced and spread out and squint those printouts.

Sometimes the human mind can picture things that are extremely difficult to put into the kind of gridded formulas that computers need to complete a task.



Bonnie Datta (not verified)

And thank you for replying, Liese.  I have PixeLoom too, and although I like it for balanced weave it really doesn't do weft face.  The best I can tell is that it assumes you want to treadle on opposites.  It also is very limited in terms of color sequences.

I'm thinking of setting up a file of these images on my webpage, or seeing if there is interest in setting one up on some weaving site (here or one of the Yahoo lists).  Or I could print off downloadable templates that people could print and then use to color in the design.  Imagine -- going back to manual drawdowns for this!  If anyone has CorelDraw I could send them a copy of a "live" drawing that would make the color experimenting easier.  I don't care about making any money off of this, but I don't want to take on a bunch of service issues either.



Bonnie Datta (not verified)

Hi Sara.  Yes, fan reeds, textured or variegated yarns, laces, differential shrinkage and other variables make the task of developing a universal graphic depiction pretty daunting.  I've only been concerned with warp-faced and weft-faced weaves.  I think your work-around for representing fan reed fabric is a perfect example of manually manipulating what technology has to offer to acheive one very specific result.  My little analyst brain is already thinking how I could use CorelDraw to do a representation of a fan reed weave, and once I get that worked out it would be possible, if not profitable, to program it.


 Bonnie, maybe look at Stitchpainter...they have a couple of modules that do different compressions for beading and knitting, maybe one of those will work.  I am trying to get them to help me export their photo so I can bring it into my weaveit or weavepoint program.  It is so close to a great bridge but still so far .  I like SP because it allows you to plop in colors, change graph sizes and do other graphic whirls that other programs don't do, like a paintbrush that you can stamp and move around like a stencil.    Here's the link....


I do blockweave and split shed work.  I modify my grid so it matches my weave on the loom so I can show it to clients.  I then throw it over into photoshop and use the watercolor method to soften the appearance to give me a close view of how the rug will look.  Stitchpainter has been the best tool for me due to its photo import and color palette options.

Here's a link to some of those (my old web page)


glad to see other weft faced computer folks on here...

yeah Sara T, I know that the mega buck software will do that but I have to go with the patchwork system to get close due to budget constraints......SP and photoshop elements gets me close enough...but we weavers always want more for less!

BY THE WAY, The stitchpainter folks will be at Stitches in Chicago this weekend.  If you are anywhere near there stop and look at their demos.  I'll be working for Habu so I'll be at that booth.  Stop and say hi.